'Rayne handles a complicated story with many skeins very cleverly. A top psychological thriller' Good Reading magazine
The old Tarleton music hall on London's Bankside is the subject of a mysterious restraint order that has kept it closed for over ninety years. When Robert Fallon is asked to survey the building, he finds clues indicating that its long twilight sleep may contain a sinister secret.
Joining forces with researcher Hilary Bryant, Robert discovers the legend of the Tarleton's 'ghost' - a mysterious figure who was first glimpsed during the time of the charismatic performer Toby Chance, once the darling of Edwardian audiences until he vanished suddenly and inexplicably in the early 1900s.
After almost a century, the Tarleton's dark silence is about to end. But there are those who find its re-opening a threatening prospect and, as Robert and Hilary delve into the macabre history of one of London's oldest music halls, they both become menaced by the secrets of the past.
Powerful atmospherics compensate for plot contrivances in Rayne's period thriller, which centers on a London music hall whose story unfolds as the narrative toggles between 1914 and "the present." When Robert Fallon is hired to inspect the Tarleton Music Hall on behalf of a group of investors, he encounters an odd additional wall in the basement, an anomaly that piques his curiosity and prompts him to delve further into the building's past. With the help of Hilary Bryant, an employee of the management company responsible for the property, Fallon sneaks into the theater. Once inside, the pair fears that a shadowy figure is watching them from the balcony, but they persuade each other that their overwrought nerves are to blame. Nevertheless, they nurse suspicions that whatever secrets lie behind the ominous wall may be connected to the sudden closing of the Tarleton in 1914.Their probe into the hall's mysteries mirror reminiscences from Bryant's boss, Shona Seymour, who at a young age witnessed her mother and grandfather burying a woman's body in the basement of their home. Rayne (Property of a Lady) maintains the spookiness throughout and adds some nicely ghoulish touches, although some readers may feel cheated her use of a major instance of deus ex machina to tidy up the story line.